Oman is an absolute monarchy which has been ruled by hereditary leader Sultan Qaboos since 1970. While part of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Oman pursues more isolationist politics. To date, Oman has only ratified four of the nine core International Human Rights instruments and is not a party to any of the conventions protecting fundamental rights, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention against Torture and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
The ongoing abuse and exploitation of migrant domestic workers in Oman’s kafala (sponsorship) immigrant labour system and lack of labour law protections leaves migrant domestic workers exposed to abuse and exploitation by employers, whose consent they need to change jobs. Those who flee abuse–including beatings, sexual abuse, unpaid wages, and excessive working hours–have little avenue for redress and can face legal penalties for “absconding”. Many migrant domestic workers, who rely on their salaries to support their own families and children at home, face cruel and exploitative conditions.
Since the beginning of the Arab uprisings, Oman has witnessed an increased crackdown on freedom of expression through press censorship and the monitoring of social media. The Omani authorities further restricted freedom of the media by subjecting journalists critical of the authorities to acts of retaliation, including through arbitrary arrests and the revocation of their licences. Newspapers and other publications criticising government policies were also banned.
Penal Code (AR)
Nationality Law (AR)
Counter-Terrorism Law (AR)
Publications and Publishing Law
Oman Human Rights Commission
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